If you think the answer to this simple question is just the service catalog manager, then think again!

True, there should be a service catalog manager, or managers depending on the size, scale, complexity and number of service catalogs in use. However, in addition to the service catalog manager there are a number of other key roles that are required.

These roles contribute to the effectiveness, relevance, management and operation of a service catalog and ensure that each service catalog, the information they contain and the function that they fulfil are fit for purpose, fit for use and delivers value and expected outcomes to the organisation and their customers.

There should be an owner of the complete service portfolio at an executive level. This is to ensure overall accountability exists in the organization for the service portfolio. In order for this to be effective, ownership and accountability has to be delegated downwards to the various management layers in the form of:

  • Service catalog managers.
  • Service owners.
  • Process owners.
  • Departmental managers.
  • Operational managers.
  • Line managers.
  • Product managers.

In medium and large organisations expect to find multiple portfolio owners, while in smaller organisations, look to find even one.  

The following list is intended to outline a number of important roles that will be involved one way or another with the various service catalogs.

  • Service portfolio manager.
  • Supplier manager.
  • Contracts manager.
  • Service level manager.
  • Service catalog manager.
  • Service catalog librarian.
  • Finance manager.
  • Service owner.
  • Process owner.
  • Configuration manager.
  • Configuration librarian.
  • Change manager.
  • Capacity manager.
  • Availability manager.
  • Communications specialist.
  • Product manager.

In practice small and medium sized organizations may have to combine numerous roles as there is a considerable investment required in time and manpower in fulfilling all these roles. Even large organizations may want to combine some of the roles in an effort to lower overheads, bureaucracy, staff numbers and complexity etc.

Therefore, individual roles do not necessarily have to be performed by individual personnel but may be shared amongst a number of people. For example supplier management may be performed by a specific team of people if the organization is large and is dealing with a high number of suppliers. The roles are not necessarily a person’s single job and may only form part of their overall day to day job function or duties.

The roles for each process and function should be identified, assigned to people and managed to ensure that they are carried out. Each process should have a specific owner. Some of the responsibilities of the process owner are to:

  • Represent the process and the delivery of the process outputs on behalf of the business.
  • Ensure that a process exists and that it is fit for purpose and fit for use.
  • Act as the overall champion and gatekeeper of the process.
  • Ensure that the process is continually reviewed.
  • Resolve conflicts that arise regarding the process.
  • Ensure that relevant KPIs and metrics are identified, recorded and reported.

In order for processes and functions to be effective and serve their purpose clear lines of responsibility need to exist, are assigned and acknowledged. Failure to do this will lead to non-accountability, a lack of responsibility and confusion over who is meant to do what. The following are applicable:

  • Each function and process should have specific roles defined.
  • Each role should have clear responsibilities that allows the person assigned the role understand their obligations in regard to the role.
  • Each role should be assigned to specific people to ensure that the role is carried out.

It should be clear that there are numerous roles that should interface with the service catalog(s) and their supporting processes. In addition each role requires a defined level of accountability, responsibility and effectiveness in order for them, and the various service catalog(s) achieve any real value for the organisation.

Further details on this topic and a full in-depth description of each role listed above is available in chapter six of my book “The Service Catalog” which is published by Van Haren Publishing as part of the ITSM ‘Best Practice’ library and is available through online bookstores.

Author: Mark O’Loughlin

About the Author: Mark O'Loughlin